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AM NewsBrief: March 6, 2023

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Monday, March 6, 2023.

Grocery Reduction Tax Bill Moves Forward

A bill to reduce grocery and income taxes is one step closer to becoming a law. Grocery and income tax bills passed out of the appropriations committee late last week

A bill to eliminate Oklahoma’s 4.5% sales tax on groceries is making its way through the state Legislature

Gov. Kevin Stitt says he continues to support the bill authored by House Speaker Charles McCall.

"I just think it's very reasonable. It's a regressive tax to remove the state portion. And if if McCall's bill does that, you know, I think it's I think it's the right thing to do," Stitt said.

Republicans continue to look at ways to cut taxes this session.

House Bills 1953 and 1954 have also passed in Committee and are eligible to be heard on the house floor. HB 1953 proposes a quarter percentage point reduction in personal income tax rates - and HB 1954 proposes a half percentage point cut to the income tax rate.

Other proposals are still alive. So which tax cuts ultimately pass remains to be seen.

Bill To Require Schools To Publish Curriculum Materials Online Struck Down

A bill that would have required all public schools in Oklahoma to publish their curriculum materials online was struck down in committee Thursday.

House Bill 2077, sponsored by Republican Chad Caldwell, would have allowed anyone to view all public-school curriculum materials throughout Oklahoma through an online portal. Caldwell argued the bill would create greater transparency among the state’s public school districts.

Before the vote, Tulsa Democrat Melissa Provenzano pointed out that parents are already allowed to ask to see curriculum materials in person. She also said she was concerned about how the bill would impact school board meetings.

"I'm concerned about these activist groups that are showing up at our school boards and creating chaos that don't have kids in the system that this is what's going to empower them to create more chaos." said Provenzano.

The bill was defeated by a margin of 24-8, with all Democrats and several Republicans in the House Appropriations and Budget Committee voting against.

Central Oklahoma Communities To Receive Millions In Federal Funding For Transportation Projects

The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments announced almost $44 million in federal funding for transportation projects in and around the Oklahoma City metro.

Most of this federal money is available annually, but the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments had about 9 million extra dollars this year from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

Rachel Meinke with the Association says the funding application process for tribes, local governments, schools and transit agencies began last fall

"We're just really excited to award all of this money to our central Oklahoma municipalities and get some projects that everyone has been wanting to complete, get those started," said Meinke.

Those projects include trails in Yukon and Edmond, a bike-friendly streetcar plan in Oklahoma City, school zone safety upgrades in Choctaw and accessibility improvements in Norman.

Capitol Insider Talks With House Speaker Charles McCall

The latest edition of the Capitol Insider features Atoka Republican and state House Speaker Charles McCall. KGOU general manager Dick Pryor and Quorum Call Publisher Shawn Ashely talk with Speaker McCall about a variety of education issues, including tax credits for private school education, sustaining rural districts, and teacher pay raises.

"On the teacher pay raise component, I think it’s also worth mentioning in the House plan the 2,500 is the minimum. The school districts can use the money to pay over that. And we hope that they will for teacher pay raises." McCall said.

Hear more of their conversation on our Capitol Insider podcast available now on KGOU.org and wherever you get your podcasts.


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